The California EP
Dressy Bessy have cranked out their share of buoyant and comely indie-pop throughout the latter half of the '90s. Their 1999 debut LP, Pink Hearts Yellow Moons, showcased their twee skills and proved that Denver has more to offer than Broncos, skiing, and a hearty homeless population. Since Pink Hearts, they've been busily adding to comps and soundtracks (they covered Free Design on The Powerpuff Girls CD, and landed two numbers on the soundtrack for the film But I'm a Cheerleader). On The California EP, Tammy Ealom's vocals give a saccharine-pop feel to the new songs. In this regard, the disc resembles the recent work of Papas Fritas and the Apples in Stereo (especially those numbers in which Hilarie Sidney sings). Robert Schneider, front-man of the Apples, who served as producer, has left his unmistakable imprint all over The California EP. The production has that warm, eight-track quality, similar to Fun Trick Noisemaker and Tone Soul Evolution. Even the melodies have a sort of Schneideresque feel, like tracks from the Marbles or the Apples. This is a definite asset. Yet some of the songs are hindered by Ealom's flat vocals. There are albums in which pitch doesn't mean much, but with the type of pop music Dressy Bessy shoots for, it's an odd impediment. In particular, on "Hangout Wonderful," the flatness is perplexing and irritating, especially since the EP is really good besides this. Chalk it up as a tone-deaf slip up. Regardless, their forthcoming LP, due out in June, is worth looking forward to.
Kindercore Records, P.O. Box 461, Athens, GA 30603, http://www.kindercore.com